Bringing the Economy Home

Dollar Bills, Where They Move, And What It Shows About Idaho’s Ties To Other States

There’s a discussion we have from time to time in the Boise State Public Radio newsroom, about geography and how we cover the news. In many respects — politically, for example — Idaho has more in common with the Rocky Mountain States that lie to its east and south than it does with its neighbors to the west. On the other hand, a lot of transplants to the state come from Washington and California.

I thought of that discussion yesterday when I read Robert Krulwich’s latest blog entry, A ‘Whom Do You Hang With?” Map of America. At the top of the piece, Krulwich walks through the findings of a study on population mobility, which relies on data tracking the movement of dollar bills. The study results in a map covered in blue lines of varying strength that don’t correspond to state lines. The areas delineated by strong blue lines are areas in which dollars bills tend to circulate and stay.

Dirk Brockmann/Northwestern University via NPR

The map shows this of Idaho: The panhandle’s circle is Washington, most of Oregon, and a sliver of northern California. The rest of Idaho is divided from the northern part of the state and falls into a blue-lined area that includes eastern Oregon, Utah and parts of Nevada and Colorado.

In other words — by this measure, at least — much of Idaho is more simpatico with neighboring mountain states. That’s the area in which southern Idaho’s dollars move around.

Also interesting to note are the fainter blue lines demarcating an area that includes Sun Valley and Twin Falls. They indicate that cash tends to circulate within that region, but it also moves beyond those borders into the broader area that includes all of southern Idaho.



About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »